New Car Review: 2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 R-Spec

Front 3/4 view of 2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 R-Spec in front of warehouse at night
The 2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 R-Spec.

Let's settle one thing right now. This is not the car that will keep Ford's Mustang up all night, shivering from fear in its corral. If, in the early days of the Genesis Coupe, that was true, the rapid development of the 'Stang into a performer in 6-cylinder guise and an outright muscle car with the V8 has moved the target.

So let's assess the Genesis Coupe 3.8 R-Spec for what it is. A smartly styled, aggressive Asian sport coupe. The Toyota Supra of our time perhaps....for our time's equivalent of Celica GT money.

Rear 3/4 view of 2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 R-spec at night in front of a warehouse
The 2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 R-Spec rear view.

That's the first big suprise about the Genesis Coupe 3.8 R-Spec...what you get for your money. The manual transmission version, like our tester, starts at $26,750. For that you get the body you see above and a 300 horsepower 3.8 liter V6 under the hood.  It handles well, too, applying that power to the pavement through the rear wheels and benefitting from a 5-link independent rear suspension, a track suspension and strut brace, 19-inch wheels with summer tires and Brembo brakes, plus a Torsen limited-slip differential...and it comes with electronic stability control, traction control, anti-lock brakes, electronic brake-force distribution with brake assist and a full complement of airbags and active front head restraints. Standard.

The six-speed manual? The slickest this side of Honda (nice lesson learned on Hyundai's part).

The 2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 R-Spec interior.

Slide inside and you'll find black leather bolster/red cloth seats (in ours) and lumbar support for the driver, air conditioning with outside temperature display, keyless entry and alarm, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a multi-information display, power windows, locks and mirrors, an AM/FM/XM/CD/mp3 audio system with an iPod/USB/Auxiliary connection and steering wheel audio controls, Bluetooth and fog lights.

Oh, yeah. And a full tank of gas. And you haven't added a single option. The tab is still at $26,750. All they could find to add to ours was carpeted floor mats ($105), a cargo net ($50) and an iPod cable ($35). From the looks of the window sticker, freight and handling was thrown in free, so the total price rings up at $26,940. A remarkable bargain. Especially when you remember this is a Hyundai, which means you get a 5 year/60,000 mile new vehicle warranty, a 10 year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty, a 7 year/unlimited mile anti-perforation warranty, and 5 years/unlimited mile roadside assistance.

It's a ball to drive, a definite attention getter and an absolute screaming bargain.

Maybe Mustang ought to sweat just a bit.

2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 R-Spec

Base price: $26,750.

As tested: $26,940.

Likes: Styling, handling, manual shifter.

Dislikes: Not seeing more in traffic.

EPA estimate: 17 mpg city/26 mpg highway.